TV Theory Of The Week - 'Orphan Black': Is This The End For Cosima?
The latest episode of Orphan Black did not end on a high note. It seems that Dr. Ethan Duncan’s addition to the Dyad came a wee bit too late. Just when we think things are on the up and up for dear ol’ Cos, BOOM! she dramatically collapses into a seizure in the final moments of the episode. Will this be the end of the brilliant Cosima? It certainly doesn’t look good for her. All signs are pointing to her tragic death, but will the writers actually kill a seminal member of the Clone Club?
The second season hasn’t been quite compelling for Cosima, her arc has been utilized to inform the plot but has lacked in terms of character development or even emotional engagement, at least compared to the other clones. Sarah is essentially the lead character on which the show revolves around and this year she has had many struggles, we have seen Alison go through a multitude of personal hardships that have taken the character to unexpected places, even Helena has gotten her own arc full of internal struggles, moral complexity and whatnot, whereas Cosima has been exiled to the lab for the majority of the season, trying to find a cure for her life-threatening disease and occasionally having a lover’s spat with Delphine. Not much going on there. There just doesn’t seem to be much more for her to do in the show anymore. And the season has, in a way, been working towards the very possible event of her death, with all the ominous coughing fits and intensive talk on prospective treatment/cures, it just feels like her story is coming to an end. Not only was the season riddled with gloomy foreboding for Cosima, but she also does enjoy a couple of moments of contentment in the latest episode. As if the writers gave her one last hurrah before she tragically passes. We get to see her nerd out with Scotty and friends, and finally get super high and giggly with Delphine, after which, they confess their love for one another. These scenes, along with the moment she gets to meet her maker, are great highs for the character, reminders of why we love her, and feel like the writers giving her (and us) a few final moments of happiness before everything goes downhill.
It makes sense for the series to take this drastic risk in efforts to raise the stakes and heighten the dramatic tension of the universe, and its not like the series has to sacrifice a talented performer for the sake of story. However, Cosima is certainly beloved by fans of the show, the series has done an impressive job establishing the characters and making us care for them, and permanently getting rid of such a central character would undoubtedly incite strong reactions from viewers. But that is a burden the series can weather and will likely be the best way to go in the long run. If they were going to get rid of one of the clones, it would/should be Cosima. Not only have they been preparing us for the possibility of her demise for an entire season and more, but also it cannot be denied that her storylines have been the least compelling lately. With Helena steadily rising in the ranks as an engaging and fascinating character, the series delving into Rachel’s past, and the introduction of Tony (of which is hinted that we’ll be seeing more of) there are potential ‘replacements’ for her place in the series that can prove quite entertaining.
As I said before, Orphan Black has a great advantage, unlike most television shows out there, most of its main characters are played by the same actor, and the writers should exploit that to the fullest capacity. Though there have been countless deaths both clone and non-clone in the series (emphasizing the danger of the world and the situations the characters keep finding themselves in) the show has been playing it safe with its major characters. Despite people dropping like flies all around them, Sarah, Cosima, Alison, and Felix have always been untouchable. Consequently, there is not much tension when they find themselves in dangerous situations; we just assume that nothing horrible will happen to them. By taking such a risk, the writers will raise the stakes of the story substantially while also affecting the narrative and its characters in deeply meaningful ways.
While we will mourn the loss of Cosima, if it happens, it is a daring, but wise, direction to take the story and could bring a bounty of compelling developments for future seasons. The idea of Sarah bringing Kira into the Dyad voluntarily (after all they have put her through) in order to harvest her blood marrow and cure Cosima is too neat of a solution/conclusion to a story that has been such a convoluted endeavor. And I don’t know if we can suffer through yet another, ‘Kira gets kidnapped’ arc.
What do you think? Is this the beginning of the end for Cosima, or is the show building up the drama to be resolved happily in the finale?